According to PodcastInsights.com, it is estimated that in 2021, there were roughly 2,000,000 podcasts available and climbing. There are podcasts about just about every topic imaginable—books, cars, business, marketing, comedy, parenting, sports, and the list goes on.
You may have thought about starting one too. And, you may have then discovered how much work they are to maintain. Scheduling guests, creating content, editing, creating show notes, and promoting each episode all go into creating a dynamic podcast. So what’s the next best thing to having your own podcast? Being a guest on someone else’s. This article outlines the steps to make an irresistible podcast pitch.
Why make a podcast pitch?
Because of the growing popularity of podcast listening and podcasts in general, you greatly increase the potential for reaching new readers by using platforms and listeners of already established podcasts. Tap into their promotion efforts by contributing valuable content, whether that’s through storytelling, providing tips or insight, or otherwise entertaining their listeners.
Being a guest on a podcast is only possible with a win-win scenario between you and the podcast host. They want guests who help make their show better and more significant along with gaining new listeners while you want exposure for you and your book with their established listeners. The most successful podcast pitchers understand this fact as an underlying principle and value the host’s time and efforts to create a grow their program.
Your goal in pitching to podcast hosts is to highlight the win for them.
3 Prep steps
Before you start pitching to podcasts, there are a few things to do. Although it’s tempting to go right to the pitch, you’ll find success faster by following these steps first.
Explore podcasts through a Google search or through various podcast streaming services, like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Search in your subject area (books, authors, or something directly related to the topic of your book, like healthy eating, etc.). You can also check the websites of authors in your genre for relevant podcasts. If they appeared on a podcast, it’s a good bet you will fit in too. Aim for 40-50 podcasts to start.
Once you’ve narrowed your search, make sure they have guests on their show. No need to waste your time with podcasts that don’t have guests.
Next, of those left, check how many episodes each have posted and how recently they’ve posted a new episode. Because of the intensive work of running a podcast, many have started and then abandoned their projects. If a podcast has just gotten started, they may be more likely to need podcast guests but also more likely they don’t have as many followers.
Finally, check any reviews the podcast garnered. Reviews will not only reveal whether people like the podcast, they may also suggest the tone and type of listener they target. You are looking for a good fit, not just more listeners.
For ease of readability and reference, create a spreadsheet to store your information for this and future pitches.
Before the pitch, listen to a few episodes to get the feel of the show, the host, and the guests. You want to know if they hold your values and if you fit with their style of podcast. You may also find out if they record audio-only or video, and how long the interview lasts.
As you are listening, find a little nugget of information about the host, a practical tip, or an interesting connection that you can share in your pitch. You might note a comment from a guest or how you are similar, yet different from them. The host or producer of the show will appreciate that you listened to the podcast and understand what they’re doing.
Find your topics
Determine what you can speak about during an interview. Brainstorm at least three topics that are in your area of expertise and may be of interest to listeners. Consider how you can have a slightly different twist or angle on a subject. It’s usually not enough to simply want to talk about your book. With the number of authors and others clamoring to be on podcasts, a differentiated topic helps you stand out.
If you haven’t done so already, craft your origin story. Why did you write this book or become an author or get into your field? Although it will be most valuable when appearing on the podcast, it may also help in a potential follow-up conversation with the host or producer. You may find your origin story points to a great topic for the interview. You’ll be ready when the opportunity reveals itself.
Now that you’ve done the background work, it’s time to craft your email pitch. Instead of a blast email to 50 podcasts, pitch each individually. Although it will take more time to do, your results will reward your extra effort.
First, craft your subject line. Keep it specific: Podcast Guest Pitch: Author of [your book]. Alternatively, you can use one of your topics in the subject line instead of the author of [your book].
In the body of the email, start with a sentence linking you to the content or host of the show. Take advantage of the research you did while you were listening. Comment and compliment the host or podcast with a genuine remark about something specific you heard and how you enjoyed or learned from it.
Tell the host who you are and a 10-15 word bio, at most. You can also mention guest appearances on other podcasts by listing the top 2 and adding “among others.” This will reassure the host you have some experience and know what is involved in the process. You can leave it out if you have no prior experience. After the first one or two, you can add them in.
Highlight your value to the podcast. Why would guests really enjoy your interview? Are you a great storyteller, have valuable insights, or a fresh perspective? Win them over with 2-6 interesting topics from which to choose that you determined earlier. Go back to your research to find the best fit for this particular podcaster. You want topics that are from a slightly different angle than other guests.
You can sweeten the pot by highlighting your social media and/or email subscribers. Offer to cross-promote the episode to your followers to make your guest appearance a win-win situation.
Finally, thank the host for their time and offer an invitation to speak about it. Then, sign it and include your website underneath, if you have one.
To show you honor the host’s time, keep the email short and to the point. If they are interested in more information, they’ll reach out to you. Here is an email template as a guideline to craft your podcast pitch.
Podcast Pitch Email Template
Hi [Podcast Host],
I’ve been listening to your podcast and really enjoy the tips on [topic]. [Guest]’s story about [specific detail] was really [inspiring/funny/insightful].
Since you interview [these types of guests], I think I would be a good fit for your podcast. I [super short bio] and would love to share my [story/tips/insight] with your listeners. I can speak on a variety of topics like:
- Example one
- Example two
- Maybe example three
I have a social media and following and email subscribers of [number of followers] and would love to share the episode with them to drive additional traffic to your podcast.
Thank you for your time, [name]. Please let me know if you would like to schedule a time to talk more about a possible guest appearance or additional topics.
With luck, you will get a few responses without any additional effort on your part. More likely, you’ll need to follow up with potential podcast hosts.
Like you, podcast hosts are busy people with an inbox likely overflowing with pitches, other work-related issues, and junk. It is ok to follow up with a polite nudge without annoying the host by following a few guidelines.
- Give them a week or two to respond.
- Keep it short. Use your previous email and hit reply so they know you’ve written to them previously.
- Be appreciative of their time and effort to respond.
Here is a follow-up email template.
Follow-Up Email Template
Hi [Podcast Host],
In case you missed my previous message, I wanted to tell you more about [insert pitch]. Here are a few extra pieces of information that were not included in my original email:
- Detail 1
- Detail 2
- Detail 3
Please let me know if you’re interested and would like to speak further!
Podcasting is one of the valuable tools in your book marketing toolkit. Combine it with an interactive social media presence, and an active email marketing strategy, along with writing more books to build your author platform and sell more books.